September 15, 2011

Looking Back to 9/11, Part 5

This is the fifth installment looking back at commentary and poetry I wrote following the events of September 11, 2001. The fourth installment can be found here.



2001
The poem below, “2001” was finished around January 7, 2002. It is not about the events of September 11, but those events are referred to. The poem reviews the year 2001, which it describes as “not a good year.”  Some readers may not remember all the events of 2001 mentioned below; others will have their memories jogged. In reviewing “2001,” I was struck by the many ways in which its eponymous year is like 2011.

The poem and commentary about it can be found on my Web site here.


2001

by Lionel E. Deimel
January 7, 2002

Two thousand one was not a good year,
Except, of course, to forget;
It started in peace but ended in war,
In surplus but ended in debt.

With incoming President chosen at last,
We began with both hope and despair;
Would the fighting continue, or parties unite
In bipartisan work for what’s fair?

Though lacking a landslide or mandate for change,
The President pressed for his plan;
He won his big tax cut for all his rich friends,
But the Senate, he lost by one man.

The Dems were quite feckless at raising the cry
Against the conservative core;
We waited in vain for inspiring words
From Daschle, Bill Clinton, or Gore.

The economy slowed, though the Fed cut its rates,
And the ranks of the unemployed grew;
But, despite the bad news, we focused our thoughts
On what Condit the Congressman knew.

September eleventh will forever be known
As the day the World Trade towers fell;
The heavenly bliss of American dreams
Was invaded by terrorist hell.
 
We changed our concerns in an instant that day—
Every cop, every fireman a hero;
Healing and safety priorities now;
The ultimate cost of Ground Zero.
 
The country still reeled from the terrorist blows
When we faced anthrax deaths from our mail;
Yet, with all our resources and money and men,
We could find not one villain to jail.
 
The war was essential, but it seemed a great shame
To bomb such a woebegone place;
And, except for tapes broadcast on Arab TV,
Bin Laden did not show his face.
 
And, so, we anticipate two thousand two
With prayers for peace and success;
We face our worst fears with a stiff upper lip,
For, in fact, we can do nothing less.

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